Remembering Darryl Kile
It was ten years ago today that Cardinal Nation lost one of their top pitchers, Darryl Kile which happened to be the second blow of the week following the death of fabled broadcaster Jack Buck. Kile’s death though the saddest moment in recent years also marked a rally which sparked the 2002 Cardinals and led them to the post season. But how many of us really remember how important Darryl Kile was not only to the Cardinals but to baseball? Let us take a look back at the career of DK57:
Kile was drafted in the 30th round of the 1987 draft by the Houston Astros. He went on to make his major league debut for the Astros in 1991 and went on to play seven seasons with the Astros posting up decent numbers, going 71-65 with a 3.79 ERA, and 973 strike outs. He then signed a free agent deal to join the Colorado Rockies where he would spend the next two seasons. While in Colorado he posted a 21-30 record with a 5.84 ERA not very good numbers but really who can have good numbers in Coors field?
But it was in 2000 when Kile was traded to the Cardinals along with Luther Hackman, and Dave Veres for Manny Aybar, Brent Butler, Rich Croushore, and Jose Jimenez that Kile really found his stride. In his first season with the Cardinals Kile won a career high 20 wins while making his third all star team and finishing fifth in the Cy Young balloting. The next year Kile went 16-11 having one of the best ERA seasons in his career putting up just a 3.09 ERA while striking out 179. Then in his final year, Kile went 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA, and 50 strikeouts in 80 inning pitched before dying suddenly of a heart attack in his Chicago hotel.
It was then that former Cardinal, then a Cub Joe Girardi made an announcement to Wrigley Field stating that the game would be cancelled that day ”I thank you for your patience. We regret to inform you because of a tragedy in the Cardinal family, that the commissioner has canceled the game today. Please be respectful. You will find out eventually what has happened, and I ask that you say a prayer for the St. Louis Cardinals’ family.”
After his death the Cardinals honored him by keeping his lockers both in home and road lockers and hanging up his jersey. They also put a memorial in the bullpen one that still stands today that had DK57 on it, something the players would also write on their caps. Since his death ten years ago no Cardinal has worn his number 57. Kile’s legacy still reigns today with the annual Darryl Kile good guy award that is given to a Houston Astro and Cardinal player each year, the first recipent of this award was Mike Matheny.
Kile was a special player and a genuine guy who was taken from the world way to soon, he passed away at 33. He could have gone on to have many more good seasons with the Cardinals and enjoy his life with his family and friends, but sadly the good die young. It is a shame that he had to pass but these things happen but he will always be remembered by those who played with him, against him, and the fans that cheered for him. So, R.I.P Darryl Kile you are still missed.